Top 5 meanest things said to me in a breakup, and what I’ve learned from them

Two days ago, an argument began with the guy I’d been seeing for about six months, and it escalated, and we’re now no longer seeing each other. As is true in many breakups, he texted some particularly mean things at me.


In reflection, assessment, and self-reflection, I brought back some of those mean things. What was it about them that hurt so badly? And why did they stick with me? Here are the top 5 worst things that men/boys have ever felt the entitlement to say or do in the midst of a breakup.

“Here’s hoping you can live in the present and not 10-15 years ago.”
Whoa, buddy. Don’t hold back.
Here’s the thing: if you really and truly feel this way about something your partner is doing–in my case, sporting purple, pink, and then lavender hair–maybe you should’ve moved on earlier. Especially if that thought is out of context. Does your partner act like a teenager, otherwise? No? Maybe you should rethink your position. Or, just save both of you the time and throw in the towel. It’s not their problem, it’s yours.

Overall, that best wish for the future stung, but also frustrated me, and is a good example of why we wouldn’t work anyway. He doesn’t know me well enough to get my choice for self-expression and I don’t want to be with someone who champions equality but also wants someone who presents herself as “girly.”

“It’s okay. How can I expect you to have a good sense of yourself when you don’t know where you come from?”

Alex had some shining moments in his drunken, coked-out fever dreams but probably the best came the morning he put much of my wardrobe into a couple of garbage bags and left them out on the sidewalk in the wee morning hours because I’d decided to leave and not tell him as much. That morning, he blockaded me into the guest bedroom and insisted I pack in front of him, so paranoid was he that I’d light off with something that wasn’t mine. It was in the ensuing struggle that he leveled the summary judgement above. Needless to say, he has quite the excessive sense of self.

My mom’s adopted. For many years, I didn’t have a relationship with my dad or his family. It left a gaping hole in my identity that was eventually filled in little by little as my dad and I came to know each other. We had established some solid roots by the time Alex and I had even met. So, nice move, jackass.
Years later, when I met my paternal grandfather, I’d learn I have deep roots to Norway. Take that, motherfucker, Thor’s my great great great grandad. Son of Odin, bitch. BOOM.

Post-script: Alex also broke up with me on a post-it, once. And it wasn’t like we were only just dating. We lived together.

“You don’t think we’re dating, do you?”
There was nothing truly remarkable about this guy beyond his inclusion in a group of people far too immature for me to have wasted my time on. I went home with him after an opening night party and we fooled around. In the morning he made me a frittata.

After a few weeks of me trying to get to the top of his contacts Favorites list (or, shit, even near), he timidly, yet incredulously, asked if I thought we were dating. Gave some excuse about our 9-year age difference (if only he knew). Wished me well on the paper I was writing (lol wut? Okay, buddy). A year or so later, I ran into him in the lobby of the theater we’d both worked at when we met. I was with my then-boyfriend, collecting boxes for an impending move. I went over to say hello and obviously caught him off-guard. We stood and talked for a few seconds, before I said I should go help with boxes. He encouraged me to find him out front, where he’d be having a cigarette with cast members, but when I went out a few minutes later, he was gone. Once a coward…

“I mean, in my opinion, we should probably stop talking because I really dont want to get attached to you again and maybe we should go our different ways.

I did have a great time with you, and I hope you did with me, but I decided on this earlier in the week because I feel like I should protect myself.”

This one wasn’t so much what he said, but how he said it. Through email. I get it, we were 1500 miles apart. Fine. Still? No email. Generally, I say no text messages, either, but times they are a ‘changing and not only have I been broken up with via text, but also been the breaker-upper. It sucks and it’s stupid, and we should all really try harder as a people. That said, this guy had the temerity to break up with me in an email, and then if I remember correctly, he tried to arrange a phone call to soothe my wounded feelings. The first time he tried to call I declined because it was my dad’s birthday AND because the Packers were playing the Bears that night and, frankly, he should’ve known better.

When I returned from my rural sojourn, he sent an email probably a year after I officially came back, apologizing for “how everything went down.” He had been hung up on someone else, he said. Which, if you’ll refer to the above quote, is not what he told me at the time.

Oh, ok. A better person would let that water flow right under the bridge. But I am filled with poison but blessed with beauty and rage, and thus have never spoken to him since.

“I just don’t think you have the capacity to love.”
This one’s probably stuck with me the longest, which is ridiculous considering it was uttered by a silly 17 year old guy to an already-broken 15 year old me. But, after years–years–of actively cultivating a hard shell to defend against asshole kids, then pre-teens, and then regular old horrible teenagers, this one’s stuck because it preyed on one of my deepest fears: that the thing that helped keep me afloat was also my greatest saboteur.

I’ve been pretty proud of my independence, my ability to get things done myself, to need no one to rely on. But, it seems that for maximum human interaction, that isn’t fully a good thing. So, here we are: on a quest to make me a little more open, slightly less invincible. Think of it like the Death Star: heavily armored and indestructible but if that one little weakness is found, everything blows up. Yes, I think to avoid that at all costs, we simply must dismantle what’s been built, bit by bit, which will take awhile, but will ultimately benefit the greater universe–and, if I so please, attract people to me of a stronger caliber than those listed above.

Here we go.

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